In life you never stop winning and conquering successes, you never stop failing either. Jeffrey Katzenberg’s story teaches this: if you are ambitious you don’t have to stop trying, but you have to expect to fail even when you are at the height of fame.
Jeffrey Katzenberg has had an extraordinary career in the world of film and entertainment.
He started as an executive producer at Walt Disney, where he worked on classics like Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.
In 1994, Katzenberg co-founded DreamWorks SKG with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen: it was an instant success, producing some of the most iconic films of the 1990s and 2000s, including The Italian Job, Saving Private Ryan, and American Beauty.
But he failed miserably with Quibi, after six months of opening. It was supposed to compete with Netflix and instead it fell apart. It seriously proves that he is a successful person who always wants to try new challenges and overcome his limits.
I will talk more about this later. Continue reading to understand what I mean by “proving to be successful with failure.”
Jeffrey Katzenberg was born in New York on December 21, 1950. He studied at the University of Southern California, where he graduated in English literature in 1971.
He started at the bottom, unaware of what he would achieve.
After graduating, he worked as a promotional material producer for Paramount Pictures, and then as director of production at Columbia Pictures. In 1974, he joined Walt Disney Productions as Vice President of Television Show Development.
In 1984 he was named president of Walt Disney Pictures, the film division of the company – a big milestone for a man of just 35.
Jeffrey Katzenberg has worked on many Walt Disney Pictures classics, including Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994).
Katzenberg was also the executive producer of the animated film Toy Story (1995), the first full-length film done in computer graphic animation, which achieved enormous box office success.
He had done an excellent job at Disney. Thanks to Katzenberg, the company also saved itself from bankruptcy.
Despite this, he was not granted any recognition and promotion from the company, following the death of Frank Wells co-president of Walt Disney Productions.
He resigned and together with the other two cinema geniuses he founded Dreamworks.
The company was born with the idea of building something different, more flexible and innovative than Disney, and they succeeded.
Dreamworks SKG’s first film was The Peacemaker (1997), a political thriller starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman.
The film didn’t have a huge box office success, but the company quickly bounced back with the blockbuster Saving Private Ryan (1998), directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks.
The film, set during the Second World War, achieved enormous success with both audiences and critics, winning five Oscars including one for best picture.
In 1999, Dreamworks SKG also produced the animated feature The Gentle Giant, a box office success that grossed more than $300 million worldwide.
Jeffrey Katzenberg was in charge (of DreamWorks) of the SKG Animation branch. Among the films he had worked on was Shrek, which had a great economic success: it was the first feature film to win the Academy Award for the best animated film of the year.
In 2004 Animation Skg separated from the parent company where he managed it independently until 2016. It is the year Katzenberg decides to sell it to NBC Universal for 3.8 billion dollars, personally earning 400 million dollars.
2020 was the year of the great KO for Jeffrey Katzenberg.
After leaving the presidency of Walt Disney Pictures in 1994, and successfully founding Dreamworks SKG with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, Katzenberg has decided to embark on a new adventure: Quibi.
Quibi was a video streaming platform that offered short content, 10 minutes or less. The idea was to compete with platforms like Netflix and Hulu, but sadly the project was a big failure.
Katzenberg invested $1.75 billion in the company, but after less than six months Quibi had already gone bankrupt, leaving Katzenberg with a lot of money lost.
Despite Quibi’s great failure, Jeffrey Katzenberg remains one of the most influential and important figures in the world of cinema and television.
The fact remains that Quibi was a brilliant streaming idea. Unfortunately, bright ideas don’t always succeed. Maybe they come at the wrong time or in an unsuitable and unfruitful context.
To be successful, it also takes a bit of madness. Because you bet your life on a project, on a passion for an investment
You face criticism from people, investors, and your customers.
Jeffrey Katzenberg was awfully wrong with Quibi. He also resigned from a company that was financially secure.
There are such few stories. We hear few such anecdotes.
Katzenberg burned through 1.7 billion dollars in a short time. A huge amount that makes headlines when you are already a public figure
Those with strong ambitions feel that something burning inside them and try to face the challenge.
Sometimes you win, other times you lose. But the important thing is to have the courage to try and never give up.
Jeffrey Katzenberg had the great courage to face a difficult challenge. Even if he ultimately failed, it doesn’t erase his successful past.
He does not live in remorse. A feeling that only a few know because they try when they hear that inner voice of ambition.
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